In a new Stanford University study, researchers find that matcha green tea could kill cancer stem cells in laboratory tests.
Matcha green tea is a natural product used as a dietary supplement with great potential for a range of treatments.
It is a traditional drink in Japan and has many health benefits. For example, it is very high in antioxidants EGCG that helps fight cancer.
In addition, matcha can help remove heavy metals and chemical toxins in the body and improve the immune system.
But the molecular mechanism of the benefits remains largely unknown.
In the current study, the team used metabolic phenotyping on cell lines of breast cancer stem cells.
They found that matcha shifted cancer cells towards a quiescent metabolic state and stopped their spread at a relatively low concentration.
The researchers also found that matcha could affect the signaling pathways that promote cancer stem cells.
In other words, matcha prevents the cells from ‘re-fuelling,’ and therefore, they become inactive and die.
This means that matcha could be used in chemical drugs for cancer treatment.
The research team suggest the effects on human breast cancer cells were very striking, and that the active ingredients in matcha having a surgical effect.
The results support the idea that matcha have significant therapeutic potential, mediating the metabolic reprogramming of cancer cells.
Interestingly, this is not the first time this group finds cancer treatment effects of tea.
The team recently found that an Earl Grey tea ingredient, bergamot, kills cancer cells and works as an anti-cholesterol agent.
Michael Lisanti, professor of translational medicine at the centre, is one study author.
The study is published in the journal Aging.
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